Community mourns loss of Harborside Inn after fire destroys historic hotel

NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WLNE) — Video captured by a Block Island resident shows flames as they rip through the Harborside Inn, late Friday night, leaving it destroyed.

The video, captured by resident Virginia Sohl, shows the flames in the third-floor coming from the roof and windows after a state of emergency was prompted on the island.

Wayne Sohl, husband of Virginia, said as a pilot who’s been flying out of Block Island since 1997, he said he understands how unpredictable the winds and weather on the island can be.

“Last night someone was looking out for the Island, because the winds were relatively light, and never changed direction. Otherwise we could have potentially had a Maui-like scenario,” Wayne said.

The Sohl family said they have a home on the west side of the island on Cooneymus Road. Their three children are all employees of the Ice Cream Place, which is directly adjacent to the Harborside Inn.

No injuries were reported, though several businesses were affected and the Block Island School is being used as an emergency shelter to house about 60 displaced hotel guests.

The Block Island Historical Society further announced they’re mourning the loss of the building but thanking the first responders who helped limit the loss.

The Block Island Ferry also had to revise its Saturday schedule due to the fire.

Categories: News, Rhode Island